The Shakespearian tragedy, Macbeth has been said to be one of Shakespeare’s most profound and mature visions of evil. In Macbeth we find not gloom but blackness, a man who finds himself encased in evil. Macbeth believes that his predicaments and the evils that he commits are worth everything he will have to endure. In spite of this towards the end of the play he realizes that everything he went through, was not worth the crown, or the high price he had to pay of losing his wife, and finding himself alone. Macbeth is shown as a kind and righteous man in the beginning of the play. He is the Thane of Glamis, and a brave warrior among men and is highly regarded by the king of Scotland. All these traits make Macbeth great. Conversely, several factors transform this one great man into a great tyrant and a malevolent murderer. Macbeth grows great throughout the play yet in reality becomes less and less as a man. Macbeth proves that wearing a crown and having the power does not fulfill all of one’s dreams and fantasies. Being the king does not necessarily make the man.
In the first act we meet the witches and the mood of Macbeth is set-dark, gloomy, evil, supernatural- a perfect atmosphere to accompany the tragic hero. When Macbeth first meets the witches he is at the height of his moral ascendancy. He is Thane of Glamis and he just slaughtered a traitor from the Netherlands in the name of Scotland. However, Macbeth’s curiosity begins to stir when these three witches tell him of his fate.
“All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!
All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter!”
(Act 1, Sc.3 48-50)
Macbeth is already the Thane of Glamis and the audience knows that King Duncan named him Thane of Cawdor. However, the last two prophecies could not make sense to Macbeth, and what they reveal to Banquo is even more puzzling.
“Thou shall get kings, though thou, be none.”
(Act 1, Sc.3 67)
A curious Macbeth yearns to know more when the witches suddenly vanish. A moment later, the prophecies prove to be true.
“And, for earnest of a greater honour, He bade me,
From him, call thee Thane of Cawdor: In which addition,
Hail! Most worthy Thane, for it is thine!”
(Act 1, Sc.3 104-107)
Macbeth wants to test the truth by asking Banquo if he also believes that the rest of the prophecies could be true. Banquo is suspicious of the witches’ motivation to deliver the news, and therefore he dismisses it.
“But, ‘t is strange:
And oftentimes, to win us our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence.”
(Act 1, Sc. 3 120-125)
Banquo’s warning is lost on Macbeth and Macbeth becomes so caught up in the contemplation of his own future, he loses consciousness of what is right and what his wrong. His beliefs, and his morals seem to be in all the wrong places. Macbeth’s thoughts turn to how the witches’ prophecies can be made good; he wants to give fate...